Tweed sees weekend air traffic

Tony Blair is now a regular flyer through Tweed New Haven Regional Airport. Past presidents and vice presidents have stepped onto the tarmac since the airport’s opening in 1931. And this Parents’ Weekend, Yale parents and alumni will land red carpet style — or at least, receive a grander welcoming than that of Connecticut Limo.

Airport officials said they look forward to receiving a 50 percent increase in activity this weekend, with parents arriving to visit students and with alumni attending the Bulldogs’ football game against the University of Pennsylvania at the Yale Bowl on Saturday.

In other words, here come the private jets.

Indeed, with the airport’s close proximity to campus, Yale affiliates utilize the facilities to fly in privacy. This traffic passes through Robinson Aviation, the fixed base operator for Tweed New Haven Regional Airport and the company that oversees all private plane operations. Ken Robinson, the company’s president, said Tweed always expects Yale’s Parents’ Weekend to bring in a large influx of out-of-town private flights.

Of course, the Average Joe could only dream of such luxury. Imagine the convenience: Pile your luggage for Thanksgiving break in the car, drive less than five miles and then head home aboard a private plane.

Such is the experience of one senior undergraduate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid sounding pretentious. At Thanksgiving break last year, he said he flew out of Tweed with his private plane, or what he calls “just a little single engine.”

He said the process of arranging flights at the private facilities is relatively easy and handled over the telephone. “You basically tell them when you are going to land,” he said. “It’s no different from flying anywhere else, just super convenient.”

Though the connection may not seem obvious, the airport’s business booms as a result of University events, such as football games, Robinson said.

“We get a lot of alumni on days when there’s a home game,” he said. “The Harvard game especially.”

The increase of private flights on such visitor-friendly weekends also brings a spike to fuel sales. Robinson said the volume of fuel sold might more than double on a weekend like this one compared to the norm.

“It’s a really important increase for daily sales,” he said. “Instead of 1,000 gallons of fuel, we might sell 2,000 or 3,000 gallons.”

A large concentration of flights the airport expects this weekend will come from the Southwest and West Coast, he said. But Tweed also expect flights from the Midwestern and Southern states and even a few from abroad.

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